“When I was your age…”

When I was little, I remember always hearing older people starting sentences and rants with, “when I was your age…” and “when I was young….” and then going on to make some statement about how much harder they worked, how much more well behaved they were, or how much less they expected of the world than my generation of “young people” did. It was annoying, and I rarely said anything in response to it. Arguing against it wasn’t going to get me anything, and trying to disprove them certainly wasn’t going to do any good. Older people always think they are right. That’s still the case now, and I’m 31 now.

But I can’t help but think that now sometimes of people five, ten, fifteen years younger than me. I was on a train with a large number of children from some summer program today, and I could not believe how loud they were. They couldn’t have been any older than eight or nine years in age. And the program leaders, adults who were likely around my age, were futilely telling them to quiet down. I could barely hear the thoughts in my own head, and I was counting down the minutes until I could finally exit that car.

When I used to go on field trips during school, our groups were always so freaking quiet in elementary and middle school. We were warned many times before leaving the school grounds that we represented our school, so don’t we want outsiders to respect us and our school by our good behavior? We’d line up in pairs with our designated buddy, or in single file lines, and be so quiet you’d barely even realize a bunch of kids were surrounding you on the Muni. There was either a lack of discipline in that school, in that program, or just a lack of care. If this is the way the average school or summer program is in New York, then that really is not something that makes me excited about the future of our children.

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